Margins to mainstream: Indymedia anticipated blogs and social media

Norm Stockwell (WORT Madison) spoke on the development of Indymedia during last weekend's People's Summit, marking the tenth anniversary of the Seattle WTO. In today's Capitol Times, he reflects on what Indymedia has meant for the global expansion of participatory media:

On the first day of the WTO protests, Nov. 30, 1999 (now referred to as “N30”), the IndyMedia website claimed over 1 million hits -- more visitors than CNN. The reason was simple: CNN was still echoing the official press releases stating that rubber bullets were not being used against the demonstrators while IndyMedia journalists were grabbing up handfuls of rubber bullets, videotaping them, and putting the news out to the world across the Internet...

Many of the things IndyMedia did in the first half of this decade are now considered mainstream. In 2002-2003, I ran a website built on the IndyMedia experience called “IraqJournal” with independent journalist Jeremy Scahill and filmmaker Jacquie Soohen reporting live from Baghdad before the U.S. invasion. At the time, someone asked us: “Oh, is that a blog?” We said, “No, this is a news site. What’s a blog?”

Read the complete article here.

The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey